Friday, 30 December 2016

Sgt. Steiner's End of Year Bash...2016

As with last year's Marlburian epic, a report on another end of year special at chez Steiner, with the two Steves and Richard.

Now this time we had Canadians & Polish vs dug in Germans during Totalize II in 1944, with the excellent Field of Battle WWII. An epic two day battle (game time) against fanatics (I mean the German divisions of course, not the players...I think).

'Get on with it!'

So we had Polish and Canadian units straddling the main road to Falaise, with the objective of securing the road at the far end. It sounds easy doesn't it?

Truth be told, there were some significantly worrying pieces of armour  in the woods and dug in along the ridgeline.

'You do see the enemy tanks, don't you sir?'

 Poles on the startline.

Canadians on the right flank.

 Lines of nice armour are great, but there's an 88 !

 Jabos - fairly ineffective on the day. It must have been cloudy.

 Cratering  from a bombing raid. It was ineffective too... we were sensing a pattern from the dice :(

 On the morning of the second day, the Germans awoke to find an Allied attack on the way in.
These woods were meant to be our hold and delay action, but claimed more and more units in a pivotal battle within a larger action. the Canadians tried to turn the flank on the right and secure the road in the centre, but it was proving tougher than envisioned.

 Another afternoon of fighting, and the Canadians/Polish, despite having the edge on artillery and airpower, were finding the German dug in positions too tough to crack...and the operation was over as Allied morale dwindled and ebbed away.

'It's the Allied players on the phone. They're wondering if we can avoid rolling any dice this turn and let them win.'

Great game and hospitality as usual chez Steiner. Of course, the game has me thinking not only about more Field of Battle WWII, perhaps in 20mm again, but also how it might work for Cold War / WWIII ...

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Game 49 - Able Archer (playtest)

So, with Game #50 approaching, and a possible re-fight of the Rapid Fire game that we played in Game 1 (Lingevres '44) as celebration, I tried to find the modern rewrite of RF dedicated to Cold War stuff (thanks for this Steve - as I had lost the file). The idea here was that we might alternatively consider a modern RF game for #50.

Able Archer has been used by some groups (check here and I believe 'the guild' have done some massive games.)

I don't have enough stuff ready in 20mm, though the Blickheim Ridge scenario based on Ken Macksey's First Clash has great appeal, using Canucks vs Soviets in WWIII. Must expand the collection a little...

So we used my 1/300 stuff to get a feel for the rules before doing something bigger.

Changes to the main rules:
  • We played this as 1:1, but with caveats; i.e. a platoon of Soviets could fire at a single target.
  • Although units would roll individually, the results were also individual, so unit on unit action was relevant. In addition, this meant that Soviet doctrine of firing platoons vs single tanks could be used, and that we dispensed with the light/heavy damage option and went instead for morale checks at 50% casualties.
  • We used hexes to regulate movement and range, which meant that Soviet platoons were restricted to deploying in a single hex. US units could deploy across multiple hexes.
  • Soviet units could only fire-move in the turn. US units could fire-move or move-fire.

I based the scenario on an old 'Team-Yankee' scenario (no, not that one, the GDW one). Unfortunately, I reinforced the Soviet armoured battalion with a full battalion of infantry. That proved a bit decisive in the end. The M1s were therefore up-gunned to M1A1s with 120mm (Class 1) guns. This made them 'super-tanks' , at least until they got outflanked or taken out by Hinds.

Red horde on the start line.

3 klicks and closing...

 Red Air...ready to engage.

The US uses its available sorties early on to stem the flow on the right flank.

The Soviets have less sorties, though these are nevertheless effective enough to do some serious damage on the US left (despite some excellent rolls for Local Air Defence)

Sensing a breakthrough on the Soviet right, the commander releases the reserve, which rushes toward the flank.

The US holds on their right...

...and in the centre.

While the A10 hangs about, making a nuisance of itself and ignoring the Red AA threat. If only it had had more sorties.

Even while the US left collapses, and Soviet infantry and armour surge through the gap.

A US infantry platoon holds the farm
The right holds, with poor morale rolls making the Soviet thrust think twice...

The Apache emerges from NOE in the woods and engages in order to hold the left flank until armour can reinforce, although AA fire eventually drives it off.

The Soviet centre assaults the farm at company strength.

ITVs and US infantry fare poorly and move to the rear.

The US left is open, with armour being outflanked by the Soviet reserve.

The company on the US right, which has deflected the Soviet spearhead, re-positions itself. 'Engaging new targets,!'

...until it has to absorb a Soviet infantry assault, without US infantry support...

It's all over, as Red units flood into the centre and are about to take the town.

 The sun sets, with only burning vehicles and fleeing units to tell the tale...

I seem to remember two schools of thought from WRG days.
Soviets: keep a reserve and use it to exploit breakthroughs.
NATO: keep a mobile force and expect the unexpected. Keep moving units bak to prepared positions.
The Red player listened to this doctrine on the day...the US simply got overwhelmed, with the best use of a Soviet exploitation reserve force yet seen.

Great game, and the rules are straightforward and really help tell the narrative. I can see how this would be epic in 20mm. No matter what, we must do more Rapid Fire, whatever the period.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Game 48 - Second Saratoga (Burgoyne's Gambit, 19th September 1777)

So, a quick post for a game that we managed to fit in despite a busy time (it will lift soon, and we’ll get some proper gaming in).

I’d picked up a few hex’n’chit board games, one of which used the Musket & Saber system. Reading this, it made sense to do the game with hexes and miniatures.

(Actually, I want to try the same scenario with Black Powder, as I need to give BP another go).

Best parts of the rules? Well, of course it’s an IGO UGO, so modern miniatures gamers will reel back in horror, though there were a couple of nice touches:

  • The obvious one where tactical movement could be used (double move could occur outside the enemy’s range).
  • The more subtle aspect, where a unit could respond with defensive fire in the active player’s turn, if it had not been fired upon. Sounds simple, but it meant that it was important for the active player to maintain fire across the line and try to target every unit – otherwise there would be a return of musketry. This is actually quite clever and forces the player to think as to where he might concentrate fire.

Enjoy the pics – we’ll be back soon.

 The British Centre

The American centre and left. Which would see the focus of British attacks.

Some American regiments about to fall back to the cover of the high ground.

 'How come he always gets a pic of us Zeke, huh?'

British troops massing for the assault.

 Attack on the American centre.


 While the American right maintains a stalwart defence.

In the end the American centre/left folded under British pressure, but it was nice fast game, which seemed to have some logic in the result.

 RANDOM PIC...the 'Supermoon' on the 14th November. (I had nowhere else to put these pics LOL)

More random pics...I picked these 'artificial grass samples' up from B&Q recently for £2 each. They're great! (B&Q is a hardware store in the UK, for our US viewers). They make great fields.

Back soon :)